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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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More Than 700 Students Absent Following Campus Threat

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Photo by Caelin Cox
Officer John Godwin reviews security footage throughout the building.

Following the report of a gun threat on March 22, the campus went into a hold for an hour while police and administration investigated. The threat, airdropped to students in the building, warned the school of a shooting to take place the next day. 

“It was impressive,” Dr. Bonneau said. “In the space of ten minutes, we had additional security here. We had people from technology here. We had additional support. We immediately started researching where it came from, who might have done it, if it was legitimate.”

During last period that day, staff made an announcement stating the threat was a hoax, and students needed to report any information to the staff or through Crime Stoppers. Officers Barry Thornton and John Godwin, along with other members of the Mansfield ISD and City of Mansfield police, investigated the threat and made an arrest. 

“Threats are increasing because you have a lot of copycat folks out there that are making these threats,” Officer Thornton said. “Some people think it’s funny, some people think it’s a joke, but they’re increasing because they happen so rapidly. It’s almost out of control now.”

Even after being declared a hoax, the threat resulted in additional safety measures for the school the next day. Extra officers stayed on campus during the school day, and scheduled K-9 security checks moved from the following Monday to that morning.

“It slows down education, and it puts students, parents and administrators in fear,” Officer Thornton said. “They come to school for an education, but with all these threats coming in, now students start focusing on what they need to do if there’s a legitimate threat.”

It slows down education, and it puts students, parents and administrators in fear. They come to school for an education, but with all these threats coming in, now students start focusing on what they need to do if there’s a legitimate threat.”

— Officer Barry Thorton

During the same week as the MISD threats, shootings happened in Arlington ISD and other states. These shootings led the officers to believe the increase in threats spiked as a result. 

“We have a heightened sense of alertness because it’s happening to other schools in the nation,” Officer Thornton said. “It’s concerning because it puts the school on alert, but we in law enforcement have to be on top of it. The quicker we jump on it, the easier it is for us to determine where the threat came from and how we deal with it.”

The school receives funding for the number of students, and usually has a 93% percent attendance rate. After the lockdown, 718 students didn’t attend school the next day, knocking the average down to 74% for the second half of the week. Absences accompanied by a parent note were excused. Dr. Bonneau believes students should feel safe to come to school and should follow the safety measures put in place. 

“It’s horrible to turn on the news and see that anybody would come after kids,” Dr. Bonneau said. “It breaks my heart, and I get frustrated on campus when we can’t get students to understand the seriousness of things.”

In recent years, the district updated campus security features and policies. Administrators and staff stand at the outside doors before and after school, the K-9 unit visits on a monthly rotation, and the front entrance went through renovations to create a safer check-in process.  

“We have really good kids here. We have a great staff,” Dr. Bonneau said. “We just have to be careful that we don’t get complacent, and we’re always vigilant and keeping our campus secure.”

About the Contributors
Abigail Morris
Abigail Morris, Assistant Editor
I need a Dr. Pepper, a nap, and a bag of ONLY the orange skittles.
Caelin Cox
Caelin Cox, Staff Photographer
Hi, my name is Caelin Cox. I’m a senior, I love taking pictures, and in my free time I like to draw and play soccer.
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